The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm
The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm is located on a large rural plot in Southeast Louisiana, USA. Created by Louisianan firm Holly & Smith Architects. Twenty years after he began with a master plan for the 16-acre former Sontheimer dairy farm, architect Michael Holly finally has his dream house. The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm is an award-winning getaway retreat for Holly and wife, Denise, having recently won the Baton Rouge Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ prestigious Gold Rose Award.
“The house has become a sanctuary for active and passive activities. From the house, you get a glimpse into the abundant wildlife that occurs around the site. It is the perfect getaway for meditation and recreation as well as for gathering friends and family to celebrate Southern Louisiana traditions.”
The small house is a net zero energy retreat located on a 15.5 acre site in Southeast Louisiana that has been developed over the course of twenty years. The property was originally a dairy farm with little character with the exception of three magnificent live oak trees that bordered the northern edge. During the site’s development, a dense layer of trees was planted surrounding the perimeter of the property and landscaping was implemented throughout the site including a galley of ten oak trees.
An artesian well was drilled and a pond was dug surrounding the oak trees. The three-story structure sits over the edge of the pond and overlooks the peninsula of ten oak trees that stretch out into the middle of the pond. A single-sloping roof sheds rainwater into the pond while also allowing maximum sun exposure for solar panels. The structure juts out at a 14 degree angle over the water as a nod or gesture to the pond. This angle is carried through the house to create a striking contrast between many of the building’s details both inside and out. The Pond House utilizes active and passive strategies for collecting energy and minimizing energy consumption.
- The house is placed along the pond’s edge orienting the building North-South. This orientation allows for deep overhangs that shed rainwater into the pond and offer shade amidst the sub-tropical heat of South Louisiana. The façade consists of a light green shade of limestone textured stucco, translucent tongue and groove polycarbonate panels, and two transparent volumes that project out of the second floor blending the residence seamlessly into its surrounding landscape.
- The site was developedover twenty years before the house was ever designed. As you enter the site through abuffer of trees surrounding the perimeter of the property, the amorphous structure reveals itself. The property layout creates a strong axis from the southeast to the northwest that passes through the peninsula of ten oak trees. The termination of this axis is through an opening in the dense tree line where a single tree stands alone with a 75’ clearing along its circumference. This axis draws summer winds onto the site while also blocking winds during the winter. The site offers a sanctuary for meditation and recreation.
- Transparent surfaces reveal a heavy timber frame as well as views to the entire property. A brise soleil made up of a series of heavy wood, louvered overhangs wraps the entire structure. The two volumes projecting from the second level give balance to the building’s dynamic geometry.
- This 1,250 S.F. residence meets the basic necessities of a South Louisiana retreat including an outdoor kitchen for festivities, an indoor kitchen, living room, and dining room that are all open to each other, and a master suite with an outdoor terrace overlooking the pond.
- The ground level hosts an outdoor kitchen wrapped in reclaimed cypress that frames a view from the fireplace with outdoor seating to the pond. This space steps down to the pond where you can sit and submerge your feet or release the canoe down and take a water voyage. A fishing pavilion with a hammock and two swings was built over the pond during the development of the site.
- On the second floor, the living room offers a panoramic view that cantilevers over the water’s edge. The dining room offers a view to the North of the property and the kitchen connects the two spaces. This gesture of stretching out over the pond creates the experience of being immersed into the surrounding landscape while enjoying the comfort of being indoors.
- The third level features a master suite with an adjacent outdoor terrace overlooking the water. The shower room on the third level is surrounded by translucent polycarbonate walls that allow silhouette figures to be seen from the exterior at night.
- The angle of the structure was created to take advantage of solar energy collection while still allowing maximum use of the space. The structure’s 14˚ angle is carried throughout many elements in the home such as through the kitchen millwork and the floor to ceiling windows, the wood handrails on the outdoor terrace, the bathroom tiling, polycarbonate skin, and many other details that provoke character and interest in the craftsmanship and experience of the home.
- The house exhibits a multi-faceted approach to achieving net zero energy through active systems such as a high efficiency heating and cooling system, solar energy, spray foam insulation, energy star equipment, and LED lighting throughout. Along with the active systems, the house features passive strategies such as operable windows, orienting the building north-south, allowing natural day lighting, utilizing shading strategies, reclaiming materials, landscaping for solar and wind changes through the seasons, and managing rainwater onsite. All of these strategies allow the building to sustain itself.
The house is a place where family and friends can come together for a good time. From swinging out by the lake, hanging out on the terrace, or having an acoustic jam session by the fire, the residence offers many avenues of engaging in culture, adventure, relaxation, and observation inside and out.
Holly & Smith Architects:
The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm is a 1,250 square foot, net zero energy retreat located on a 15.5 acre site in Southeast Louisiana. The three-story structure sits over the edge of a pond and overlooks a peninsula of ten oak trees that stretch out into the middle of the pond.
The Pond House features an outdoor area on the first floor including a fireplace and outdoor kitchen. The second level houses a living room, kitchen, and dining room that are completely open with panoramic views to the surrounding landscape, and a master suite with an outdoor terrace on the third level overlooks the property. A single-sloping roof sheds rainwater into the pond while also allowing maximum sun exposure for solar panels.
The form juts out at a 14 degree angle towards the water and the roof sits perpendicular to the structure. This angle is carried through the house to create a striking contrast between elements such as the kitchen millwork and floor to ceiling windows in the living and dining room.
The facade consists of limestone textured stucco, opaque tongue and groove polycarbonate panels, and two transparent volumes that project out of the second floor blending the residence seamlessly into the landscape. Transparent surfaces reveal a heavy timber frame and also allow the building to become an observation tower offering views to much of the site. At night, the three-story volume comes alive as a glowing lantern emerging from the landscape magically illuminating the water.
The Pond House achieves net zero energy capability through active systems employing a high efficiency heating and cooling system, solar energy, spray foam insulation for a tight building envelope, energy star equipment, and LED lighting throughout.
Along with utilizing active systems, the Pond House also features passive strategies to achieve a sustainable design through operable windows for cross ventilation, north-south building orientation, natural day lighting, shading strategies, reclaiming materials, landscaping designed for solar and wind changes through the seasons, and managing rainwater onsite.
Since its completion, The Pond House has been generating instead of consuming energy. Within the mission of creating a sustainable design, this residence is an example that proves energy efficient houses can be comfortable, luxurious places to live. The Pond House is a place where family and friends can come together. From swinging out by the lake, to hanging out on the terrace, or having an acoustic jam session by the fire, The Pond House offers many avenues of engaging in culture, adventure, relaxation, and observation inside and out.
Project name: The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm
Location: Hammond, Louisiana, United States
Coordinates: 30.490541, -90.369049
- Type By Characteristic: Architects House, Tower House, Contemporary House, Green & Sustainable House
- Type By Site: Countryside / Suburb House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Wooden House
Project Area: 1,250 sq.ft / 112 sqm
Site Area: 15.5 acre
Completion Date/Year: December 13, 2014
Client / Owner / Developer: Michael and Denise Holly
Architects: Holly & Smith Architects – 208 North Cate St., Hammond, Louisiana 70401, United States
Project Team: Holly and Smith Architects, APAC
Landscape Architect: Dufreche-Perkins & Associates
Structural: H&H Engineering
Mechanical: KME Salas O’Brien
Electrical: KME Salas O’Brien
General Contractor: Premier Construction & Development
Text Description: © Courtesy of Holly & Smith Architects, AIA Baton Rouge Rose Awards
Images: © Holly & Smith Architects, Marc Lamkin